Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Old North Davis Created February, 1913 (06)

In Mid-January, 1913, the residential area we now call “Old North Davis” did not exist. But, one month later it did. How did it come into existence?

Dav. Ent., 2-1-13. Click to enlarge
In early 1913, one C. W. Bowers and partners conceived a plan (called Bowers Addition) to create 100 residential building lots in the space bounded by what we now term B and G Streets and Sixth and Seventh Streets. At that time, that land was open field on the north edge of the official Davis grid.

Such a plan created a need for a governmental authority to mark and grade public streets and to align them with the existing grid of streets. However, doing this was a problem because the graded street area of Davis ended at Fifth Street, not at Sixth, the southern edge of the proposed Bowers Addition.

The area between Fifth and Sixth was something of a “no-mans land” because streets existed “on paper,” but they had never been graded and marked. They were official rather than actual streets. Lots in that strip were owned, but absent streets, no one was certain about the location of lot boundaries and owners had done as they pleased in marking their lots. This had resulted in fences across what were in fact public streets and at least one business installed on a public street, although this was not obvious since there were no marked streets.

Davis was a named place but not incorporated. Therefore, the district county supervisor, William O. Russell, was the de facto head of the village. He solved the problem by deploying county “tractor engines” to grade streets from Fifth to Seventh and to create Sixth Street. In order to do this all the fences across streets had to be taken down and a business in a street moved. This was done on his authority and under his direction, it appears.

These clearing and grading processes took place over the last week of January and the first week of February, 1913. They seem to have been completed by Friday, February 7th or so.

So, on February 7th or thereabouts, the B to G, Fifth to Seventh area we now call the Old North was for the first time a single and unified space designed for residential settlement. This is the sense in which we can say the Old North began at that time.

I provide an excerpt from the Davis Enterprise that sums up much of this. Please keep in mind that street names were changed about a decade later. Therefore: Fourth is Fifth, Fifth is Sixth, Sixth is Seventh. For the detailed Davis Enterprise and other sources from which I constructed this account see www.oldnorthdavishistory.org, folder 1.3.